Dealing With Divorce
Nina Chen, Ph.D., Human Development Specialist, Jackson County, University of Missouri Extension
It is always hard to deal with divorce. Everyone in
the family is hurt. Feelings of anger, sadness,
depression, helplessness, loneliness, and guilt are
common for separating or divorcing people.
Divorce is another type of loss and a difficult
transition. It takes time for people to adjust or heal.
In particular during the first year after divorce,
people usually have a tough time re-establishing their
social circle or lifestyle as a single again. They may
feel hopeless and want to withdraw from their friends.
They may feel shame and try to be alone and avoid
people's criticism or judgment. Some of them may feel
abandoned or blame self or someone else for causing the
Divorcing adults often experience mixed feelings,
emotional pain, stress, and sadness. All of these
feelings are normal. Acknowledging the feelings and
finding healthy ways to express them are important parts
of the healing process. One way to do this is to find a
support group of people who are in a similar situation.
Support groups can be found through churches or
counselors, or by locating the nearest Parents Without
http://www.parentswithoutpartners.org/. If there is
not a support group near where you live, or you are
unable to attend meetings, talk to someone you trust
about your feelings. You may talk to your close friends,
family members, or your church pastor or counselor or
find professional help such as a marriage counselor or
Planning for the future is another important
component of the healing process. You may want to return
to work or school. Having something to do or a plan in
mind is vital for you to keep going. As the Chinese
expression says "Where there is a will there is a way."
As long as you set your goal and try your best to
overcome difficulties, you will be in a better position
to succeed. You may struggle in financial issues or
making decisions about what to do. List pros and cons in
terms of your needs and priorities which can help you
decide which should go first. Finding resources and
support from others is helpful to set your plan and
eliminate some barriers.
It is common for divorced people to ignore their
health, such as over eating, lack of appetite, or sleep
disorders. Keeping a healthy diet, having enough rest,
and exercise are needed to be in your plan.
Spend time with others and keep your life more
pleasant. For instance, you may want to be around your
friends who have a good sense of humor which may help
you develop a sense of humor and look at your life in a
The above are some suggestions, however, everyone has different ways to deal with divorce. You are the one who knows which best fits your needs. Adjusting to divorce is a process that takes time, so allow yourself time to heal and remember to focus on one day at a time.
Last Updated 05/11/2009